Industrialists in Maharashtra are infuriated over state government pulling a fast one on them as regards to reduction in power tariff. The government announced that it has reduced the power tariff by 20% but it was just an eyewash. In reality, the tariff in February is about 5% more than that in July 2013.
Now, MSEDCL has submitted a proposal to Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to recover Rs 9,296 crore from consumers, which is expected to increase tariff by another 20%.
The state has the highest power tariff in the country and local industries are finding it difficult to face competition. MSEDCL refused to hear their pleas but chief minister Prithviraj Chavan agreed to constitute a committee under industries minister Narayan Rane to find a solution. Rane was considering measures like hike in stamp duty but before he could submit the report, Delhi government reduced tariff for domestic consumers. This prompted the state government to abandon its plan and instead adopt please all tactics.
Representatives of industrial associations, consumer representatives of MERC and consumer activists on Monday met in Nashik to discuss measures to expose the government and to oppose MSEDCL’s tariff hike proposal.
RB Goenka of Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) told TOI that the government resolution (GR) on lowering tariff was flawed. “It admits that the tariff reduced on its own after the levy of surcharges ended but claims that the tariff would again go up from April when MSEDCL is allowed to recover its pending dues from consumers.
“The government has assumed that MERC will approve MSEDCL’s proposal even though the Commission refused to admit the previous one in July 2013 because we pointed out large number of discrepancies in the data. This time too we will ensure that MERC does not admit the proposal at all,” he said.
Goenka further said MSEDCL was deliberately not filing a tariff petition and was increasing tariff by true-up mechanism so that it has no accountability. “Every time it files a petition saying that it does not have money to run the company. Why doesn’t it file a proper petition on time? Same holds true for Mahagenco. Corruption and inefficiency in the company has pushed up generation cost,” he said.
Goenka added that the industries and consumer activists would demand that since MSEDCL’s proposal for another hike was not justified, the government should use the money to be recovered for actually reducing the tariff.
*Narayan Rane committee was supposed to find ways to reduce industrial tariff
*Before Rane could submit report, AAP slashed power tariff in Delhi
*State govt abandoned plan to reduce industrial tariff and went in for a please-all plan
*This was an eyewash as it did not reduce tariff at all
*MSEDCL plans to hike tariff from April. Govt says subsidy will offset it
*Industries say MSEDCL hike unwarranted, use subsidy to actually reduce tariff